Multiple intelligences at KO

Opinion

As students at KO, we are incredibly lucky to be in classrooms with teachers who care deeply about our education and with peers who genuinely want to learn. However, sometimes there is a disconnect even at KO between teachers and students in regards to how students learn best.

Nearly every student I know at KO has at one point or another felt that despite taking detailed notes and seeking extra help, they still do not understand the material being taught. Immediately they either blame the teacher for “not being able to teach,” or they blame themselves for simply not being smart enough in that subject. Neither of these reasons are true and both are very detrimental for students and teachers.

Howard Gardner published the Theory of Multiple Intelligences which suggests that intelligence is composed of eight modalities: linguistic intelligence, logical-mathematical intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, musical intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, intra-personal intelligence, and naturalist intelligence.

Dr. Gardner stated that schools focus primarily on linguistic and logical-mathematical intelligence. However, our education system and society need to place equal value on all other kinds of intelligence. Multiple intelligences enrich our world through art, entrepreneurship, and more.

An important part of Gardner’s theory is that no person is limited to one kind of intelligence. Just because, for example, someone has high linguistic intelligence, they can still succeed in math or science. The key is using a wide range of activities to reinforce what is being taught and to explain the material in many different ways and in different contexts. For example, in math classes students with high logical-mathematical intelligence will be able to quickly pick up the material just by reading the textbook.

However, not everyone in the class will necessarily have that same strength and that is okay. They still can not only learn but be successful in a math class. They just need the material to be explained in a way that makes sense to them. Students with high musical intelligence might understand certain math lessons if they are taught in relation to musical theory (like relating fractions to quarter and eighth notes).

Teachers at KO should implement a more diverse range of ways to teach a concept and enforce it in the classroom. By only teaching to one kind of intelligence, students can lose confidence in their own ability and start to hate learning.

Learning should be exciting and interesting for students and I am sure that it is every teacher’s goal at KO to create a supportive and positive environment for students. By being aware of the different bits of intelligence, teachers can make sure students feel confident in their ability to succeed in any subject.

While teachers play an important role in helping students learn, KO should also do a better job at educating students on the different kinds of intelligence. Regardless of what a student’s highest intelligence is, they can still succeed in other areas of learning. This way, students will know why they don’t understand something and ask for their teacher to explain material in a way that correlates to their highest kinds of intelligence. For example, if a student has high linguistic intelligence and is struggling to understand concepts in their math class, they can go to their teacher for extra help and ask that the material is explained in a paragraph rather than on a graph.

Not every student learns the same way, but all students are capable of success in any class. It is crucial that teachers and students are aware of the many kinds of intelligence so that they can present or learn the material in a variety of ways.